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Posthumous portrait of Nawab Saadat Khan of Awadh (r.1722-39). Lucknow, 1760. Gouache and gold on wasli. 17.7 x 13cm
In 1722 Mughal Emperor Shah Muhammad appointed Persian Shia Muslim noble Saadat Khan Burhan al-Mulk as nawab of Awadh. Although a subedar under British rule he nevertheless wrested control from the shaikhzadas, powerful local land barons, largely securing political stability resulting in a high level of autonomy to the effect that he had founded a nawabi dynasty. This elevation of position led to him fatally siding with fellow Persian Nadir Shah who planned to conquer Delhi: the nawab died during the onset of attack, it is said from suicide due to being cast adrift by Nadir Shah's treachery.
Ref: Awadh Saadat Khan14911
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Above: gilt detail catching light
All images and text © Peter Blohm